Please enjoy this scene from the comic mystery novel RED HOT LIBERTY. Molly O'Malley is a real estate agent who is being sued for discrimination. Brian and Shannon are new clients. Robin, a sexy Englishman, is Molly's assistant.
Shannon Flanagan and Brian Doyle had met on the Be-in-Harmony.com online dating site. Describing themselves as insanely happy, they were now engaged and wanted to find a home they could purchase on their wedding day. They contacted Molly because of her name, her Irish-themed real estate ad, her professional motto of Your Lucky Shamrock, and her photo. With her red hair and green outfit, she totally looked the part of a lucky Irish real estate broker. Having a photo in her ad of her preferred lender, Percy, dressed up as a leprechaun holding a pot of gold didn't hurt either.
Molly greeted them in the lobby.
Brian shook her hand. "We're proud of being Irish."
"I am too," Molly said with as much conviction as she could muster.
"You sure looked a lot younger in your photo," Shannon said.
Molly grimaced. "It was only taken five months ago." Admittedly, the past five months had been very long and hard.
"Well, pictures can be deceiving," Shannon said.
Molly noticed a slight edge to her voice and wondered if chubby Brian had looked skinnier in his online photo.
Molly ushered the couple into her office and introduced Robin.
"We connected on all forty-nine levels of compatibility," Shannon said in greeting.
Robin looked properly impressed. "Well done."
Brian bristled. "Oh, you’re an Englishman—an oppressor of the good Irish people."
Molly coughed so she could cover her mouth and hide her smile. Poor Robin. First Fang, then Liberty, and now uber-Irish Be-in-Harmony people. She hadn't realized the English were so universally despised.
"Erin go bragh?" Robin said hopefully.
Brian grunted and Shannon glowered. They turned their backs on him, and took seats across the desk from Molly.
"I've set up some showings for today and—"
Shannon interrupted. "Tell me, Molly, how important are the looks of a house to you? Not at all, somewhat, or very important."
"Um, well, very important I suppose."
"Exactly." Shannon seemed quite pleased.
Molly cleared her throat. "Okay, so first we need to sign papers detailing how I'm going to represent you—"
"Please tell us what ethnicities you would be willing to accept as clients," Brian said. "Check all that apply. White non-Hispanic, Hispanic or Latino, African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Arab, Native American, Other. Remember you cannot go back and change your answers later."
Startled, Molly glanced over their shoulders at Robin, who held up a copy of The Blackstone Daily News. The paper had wasted no time broadcasting her shame. "All of the above. I do not discriminate."
"Please answer the following statements about yourself as true or false," Shannon said. "I would never lie."
"True," Molly said.
"Doing what I think is right is more important than what people think about me," Brian said.
"And in the category of living skills, please indicate on a scale of one to seven, one being not skilled and seven being very skilled, how you would rate your ability to remain calm yet resilient during a crisis?" Brian asked.
Molly's entire life had been a crisis—her living skills were well-honed. "Oh, that's easy, definitely an eight."
Shannon blinked. "But that wasn’t one of the choices." Both her tone and Brian's expression were reproachful. Obviously these people had no clue how to think outside the box.
"You're absolutely correct," Molly said. "On a scale of one to seven, I would rate myself a seven on my ability to admit my mistakes."
The Be-in-Harmony couple visibly brightened.
"Well, then let's get those papers signed. I would say we're definitely a match," Brian said.
Molly presented the agency agreement to them, but Shannon hesitated when it came time to sign. "How appealing do you find a big house, Molly? On a scale of one through seven, one being 'not at all,' and seven being 'very appealing.'"
Poor Shannon. She really did seem to have an issue with Brian's weight. Molly didn't want them to break up now, right when they were going to buy a house from her. Ignoring her own declaration that she would never lie, but proving her ability to be calm yet resilient in a crisis, Molly said, "Very definitely a seven. Big houses are wonderful."
Shannon signed the papers, Brian smiled his jolly smile, and Molly glanced over to see a look of disappointment on Robin's face. Molly's own face burned, proving that she really did care about what people thought of her after all.